We’ve talked about marriage counseling and family counseling for couples, but there is another type of counseling that is rarely used although many religions, therapists and even states encourage it. This is pre-marital counseling or therapy and it’s a great tool for couples planning to be married.
What makes it a great tool?
There are a number of states that are looking for ways to encourage engaged couples to seek pre-marital therapy or even marriage education classes before their wedding days. In Florida, for example, there is the 1998 Marriage Preparation and Preservation Act. Couples who seek pre-marriage counseling or education are offered reduced fees for their marriage license. In addition to this, the act also requires public high schools to teach relationship and marriage skills.
Because being married can be difficult, that’s why. Frankly, once the shine is off any relationship, it can be tough for couples to communicate and understand each other. A pre-marital counseling or education can help couples avert potential problems that they will otherwise encounter. Skills taught or learned through these experiences include:
- Better Communication
- Active Listening
- Positive Disagreement
- Avoiding Criticism
- How to Complain
- Better Understanding
- And much more.
These are positive benefits that can help couples build stronger, more lasting relationships in their marriage and other areas of their lives. Other states are getting on the bandwagon. Oklahoma, for example, enacted legislation in 1999 that reduced license fees for marriage for couples that received pre-marital counseling. In Texas, $3 from every marriage license fee is devoted to pre-marital research and other education efforts.
Saving money on a marriage license fee might encourage some couples to receive pre-marital counseling, but for those of us who are already married – we know that pre-marital counseling might have made some of our lives easier.
If still not convinced, then consider pre-marital counseling a pre-emptive strike on disagreements, misunderstandings and separation. No one gets married in order to get a divorce. Pre-marital counseling can help reduce the divorce rate by helping couples by providing tips on positive communications and the tools to handle disagreements when they show up.
There’s a lot of things life cannot prepare us for and while pre-marital counseling may not prepare a couple for every issue, the commitment to prepare together is as important as the commitment to be together in the first place. So if you know someone who is getting married, suggest pre-marital counseling or education. It might be the best wedding present they give themselves.